Historic PAS Report Series
PAS published its first Information Report in 1949. To celebrate this history, each month we're presenting a new report from the archives.
We hope you enjoy this month's fascinating snapshot of a planning issue of yesteryear.
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLANNING OFFICIALS
1313 EAST 60TH STREET — CHICAGO 37 ILLINOIS
|Information Report No. 34||January, 1952.|
The Special District —
A New Zoning Development
Most zoning ordinances still retain the basic land use classification and segregation instituted in the earliest zoning efforts — residential, commercial and industrial. As zoning theory and practice have developed, these categories of use have been refined and sub-classified, but the basic tripartite division and the "airtightness" of the categories still remain. The special district in a zoning ordinance represents an attempt to escape the somewhat rigid structure of this tripartite segregation and to re-evaluate compatibility of use.
There are several distinct developments which have encouraged the establishment of special districts — that is, special subcategories of conventional districts or districts other than those designated as residential, commercial or industrial. The first of these is the growing understanding that since individual communities have unique characteristics, it may be necessary to establish a special and perhaps "unconventional" district to meet a particular need. Examples of such special districts are civic center zones (particularly useful for state capitols but not confined to them), public and semi-public use zones, forest, recreation or greenbelt zones, yacht basin zones, educational institution zones, conversion districts, historical zones and the like. These zones grow out of the characteristics of the community and are designed to fit a specific need.
The second development is basically a trend in the philosophy of segregation of land use. Two strains are interwoven in this new approach. The first is the realization that there is something quite arbitrary in permitting one type of use on one side of a "line" and another on the other side of the zone boundary. There is a feeling that a thin zone between the two could be occupied by uses which are transitional and which might bridge the gap between the two different classes of land use. The need, for example, for parking lots adjacent to commercial zones has led some communities to permit these lots as transitional uses in residential zones, where such zones abut commercial districts. Other communities have established provisions whereby properties in residential zones adjacent to commercial areas may be used for professional offices, medical clinics and other forms of semi-commercial land use.
If the concept of a peripheral transition zone is one strain in this new approach to use segregation, the idea of a hybrid district is the other strain. Realizing that the distinction between residential, commercial and industrial uses, based on "nuisance" and density characteristics, is not as clear-cut as was originally believed, some communities have attempted to establish special districts in which particular types of uses are combined, regardless of their residential, commercial or industrial character. Thus, for example, some communities provide for a commercial-manufacturing district in which wholesale commercial uses are combined with certain manufacturing uses. Still other communities have established what are variously termed office and professional districts, or institutional districts, etc., which tend to form a connecting link between the denser residential uses and certain unobjectionable commercial uses.
Sometimes districts identified by different and superficially impressive titles are basically no different from those more mundanely titled. But, occasionally, the designation of a new district represents a change in the concept of land use classification and a new approach to the compatibility of uses. We have tried, throughout this bulletin, to select examples of the latter.
Still a third development in zoning districts results from the growing frequency of large-scale planned developments. Thus, some ordinances are making provision for planned residential, commercial and industrial districts. Planned residential districts have been discussed in a previous PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE bulletin, No. 27, "Zoning for Group Housing Developments," published in June, 1951. Only planned commercial and industrial districts will be discussed in this bulletin.
For Schools and Educational Institutions
In college towns, there has always been a dilemma about how to zone the university with its dormitories and ancillary business activities. Some communities have attempted a solution by establishing a special educational district. For example, Davis, California, established a fraternity residence district in which, in addition to uses permitted in the multiple-family residence zone, fraternity houses, private schools and colleges are permitted uses. Redlands, California, established a P-3 or educational district in which "any structure may be erected or any business carried on in a zone declared to be an educational district, provided it appertains to the activities of the institutions situated therein, and provided that it is not operated for profit." Wellesley, Massachusetts, provides that in the institutional-educational district only the following uses will be permitted:
"1. Any purpose authorized in the single residence or general residence district;
2. Residence for more than two families, apartment house, apartment hotel, dormitory, hotel, inn, or tea-room;
3. Private school, college, academy, institute, or other use of an educational character;
4. Such accessory uses as are customary in connection with the uses enumerated in clauses 1, 2 and 3, and are incidental thereto."
Other specified uses are permitted subject to conditional permits. Williamsburg, Virginia, also established a college district in which are permitted any uses or accessory uses "suitable and proper to a college, provided, however, that it shall not constitute, nor be likely to constitute, a nuisance." Although not specifically entitled an educational district, the R-5 zone in Coral Gables, Florida, permits "every use as golf or tennis grounds or similar use, church, convent, parish house, private club, public recreation buildings, community center building, music school, university, university dormitory, university fraternity or sorority house, public school or a private or boarding school or college unless such private or boarding school or college is operated so as to bring it within the definition of a C use, provided that no building shall be erected or used for purposes of a music school, public school, private or boarding school or private club unless the city commission shall, after due notice to owners of adjacent property, order and direct the issuance of a permit for that purpose." A combination educational and historical (cultural) district is established in the proposed zoning ordinance for the city of Annapolis, Maryland. The ordinance specifies that, in addition to residential uses, the following uses are permitted:
"1. Colleges, schools, kindergarten or nursery school, public or private with ordinary accessory buildings of such institutions including dormitories, dining hall, recreational gymnasium, swimming pool, studio, laundry, heating and power plant.
2. Colonial dwellings constructed prior to 1800 A.D.
3. Historical buildings preserved for public or eleemosynary uses.
4. Memorials, monuments or museums.
5. Studios of art for practice, display or teaching music, voice, painting, sculpture, dance, drama or public speaking..."
An early zoning ordinance establishing an educational district is that for Needham, Massachusetts, revised in 1931. An institutional district is established in which all uses permitted in the single family residence district and the following additional uses are allowed:
"Dormitories in which there is no provision for private housekeeping; cafes; lecture rooms; research laboratories; statistical offices; printing, binding and electrotyping as accessory to statistical and research work, but not as a separate and independent business; and such uses as the selectmen may deem to be properly accessory to the above mentioned uses. In an institutional district, no building may contain more than two and one-half stories above the basement."
An almost identical provision is contained in the Falmouth, Massachusetts, zoning ordinance of 1934. Still another Massachusetts town which has established an educational district in its zoning ordinance of 1941 is Lennox, Massachusetts, where, in addition to all uses permitted in the residential district, the following uses are specified:
"Private educational system use and any other use necessary to maintain a private educational system, provided it is not injurious, noxious or offensive to the neighborhood, and only if authorized by the board of appeals."
For Civic Centers
Another group of uses which are sometimes concentrated in a specific district are governmental uses designed to form a civic center. This district is often carefully protected from uses of land and some form of architectural control is usually imposed.
One of the most interesting examples of such a district is that established in the zoning ordinance of Alta Vista, Virginia, adopted in 1950. A public grounds zone is created by the ordinance, in which only the following uses are permitted:
Court houses and jails
Federal, state, county and municipal offices
Accessory garages and shops
Schools and playgrounds
Libraries, museums, art galleries
Buildings erected for public use by non-profit corporations or associations
Parks, athletic fields, non-commercial swimming pools and recreation areas
Non-commercial parking lots
Activities "not detrimental to the use of public grounds, such as, but not limited to the granting of a refreshment concession at a municipal swimming pool."
Architectural control over the structures in this zone is obtained through the following provision that:
"Within a public grounds zone, no change of existing use of a building or grounds shall be made, nor shall any building or structure be constructed, altered or removed until a detailed plan for the work proposed to be done shall have been submitted to the council and planning commission or the board of zoning appeals and approved; and within any public ground zone it shall be unlawful to use any building or premises or to hereafter erect or structurally alter any building or to carry on any activity for any of the purposes enumerated in sections 2 to 6 below."
These sections enumerate residences of all kinds, and commercial and industrial uses.
A similar provision is found in the public reserve area district established in Bellingham, Washington, zoning ordinance of 1947. The pertinent excerpt from this ordinance is contained on pages 21 and 22 of the PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE Information Report No. 6 entitled, "Architectural Control," published in September of 1949.
Civic, public and semi-public districts are established in several other ordinances. For example, in the 1951 proposal for a zoning ordinance for Annapolis, Maryland, it is suggested that a civic district be established in which land and buildings may be used only for residential uses, municipal office buildings, fire house and police stations, county buildings, court houses, the Governor's Mansion, state armory, state office buildings, federal office buildings and post offices, banks, educational and cultural uses. Another proposed zoning ordinance is that for Fargo, North Dakota, dated September 1, 1951. In this ordinance, a Public Facilities District is established. The "P" districts include areas within established rivers, waterways and canals, and may be used by the city of Fargo or by other public bodies for the following purposes:
Public buildings and uses, not industrial in nature, including temporary public housing facilities
Public parks, playgrounds, schools, athletic fields, golf courses
Public streets and alleys and other public ways and thoroughfares
Public drains, sewers, water lines and other public utility or public service facilities
Other public purposes
Although residential uses are prohibited from this district with the exception of public housing projects, "dwellings or dwelling units for employees having duties in connection with any premises requiring them to live on said premises, including families of such employees when living with them, are permitted."
More similar to a greenbelt than a civic center is the Public and Semi-Public use district (P) provided for in the zoning ordinance of Long Beach, California, as amended to 1951. Single family dwellings, public airports, aquariums, arboretums, art galleries, automobile parking lots, bath houses, botanical gardens, bush crops, churches, civic auditoriums, country clubs, educational institutions, agricultural uses, fire stations, golf courses, hospitals, libraries, arenas, museums, observatories, opera houses, orchards, parks, playgrounds, public stadiums, swimming pool, water-way, water pumping and storage facilities, wild-life reservations, public zoological gardens, are among the permitted uses for the district.
Fernandina, Florida, in its zoning ordinance adopted in 1937, provides for a special public or semi-public district, in which
"no building or land shall be used and no building shall be hereafter erected, constructed, reconstructed or structurally altered or repaired which is designed, arranged or intended to be occupied or used for any purpose other than parks, playgrounds, recreational areas; public or semi-public uses and occupancy. In event any public or semi-public areas in the SP district are disposed of by sale or subdivided in any manner, a subsequent utilization shall conform to the character of the surrounding or adjoining district in which such areas are located."
The requirement that buildings in the public zone or civic center zone be subject to some form of architectural control has been discussed in the earlier PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE Information Report No. 6 entitled, "Architectural Control." Several additional examples may be found in a number of Minnesota communities, including Edina and Red Wing, where what seems to be the central business district of the town is entitled, "Civic Center," and is subject to the conditions that "no buildings or premises shall be used and no building shall be erected or altered except for the following uses, and then only after plans and specifications for such building, structure, improvement, premises or use have been approved by the village council at a public meeting." Another example is the "0" zone for public and open space established in the El Centro, California, zoning ordinance in 1949, reading, "Any and all buildings or structures in areas zoned 'O' shall be reviewed for appropriateness and appearance by the City Planning Commission before permits are issued or construction is started."
For Parks, Recreation and Public Open Space
Closely akin to the civic center district is the Park and Recreational district. In some communities P districts are established to designate publicly-owned parks, and all land owned by the park district or planned for parks is automatically given such designation on the zoning map. In other communities, there is an attempt to achieve an approximation to a greenbelt through zoning for public open space and institutional uses on the periphery of the town. There are several general types of recreation and conservation zones.
Strictly recreational in intent is the district established in the Chelan County, Washington, zoning ordinance adopted 1948, in which public and private parks, playgrounds, camp grounds, golf courses, recreational camps and resorts, hunting and fishing cabins, private summer cottages and service buildings, and family dwellings "in order to permit owners of above properties to give year-round protection" are the only permitted uses. Even more clearly of a recreational nature is the R-Resort District incorporated in the zoning resolution of Hamilton County, Ohio, adopted 1949. In addition to the customary residential uses, summer homes and cabins, bathing beaches and bath houses, boat docks, the selling and leasing of fishing equipment and bait, and such accessory buildings and uses as customarily incident to any of the above uses (including the sale of food and refreshments) are permitted. Another similar case is found in the zoning ordinance of Crete, Illinois, dated January 1941, which established a Country Club and Park District. Uses in this D district are confined to club houses, accessory buildings incidental to the conduct of a country club, golf courses, tennis courts and grounds for similar activities and accessories incidental thereto, swimming and wading pools and parking lots. A park and recreational district is also established in the zoning ordinance of the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin, as amended to 1947, in which uses are limited to public parks and recreational areas, schools and commercial outdoor recreational facilities, including golf courses, riding academies, country clubs and similar uses.
Mountain Brook, Alabama, established a completely non-commercial recreational district in which only recreational uses such as parks, playgrounds, athletic fields and similar uses are permitted "provided that no charge for the purpose of obtaining a profit is made for the use of the area or any accessory structures thereon." Another non-commercial recreation district is that established in the zoning ordinance of Avon Township, Michigan. The P-1 or Park District, is subject to the following provisions:
"District Location. This district shall be established only upon request, by application to the Township Board of Appeals and in such circumstances as to improve the physical character of the immediate neighborhood.
"Uses. This district may be used only for non-commercial recreational purposes.
"Size of Land Areas.
1. To be considered a Park P-1 Area the land shall not be less than 1/4 acre in area.
2. Family dwellings other than a caretaker's residence will not be permitted. When a caretaker's residence is required, the dwelling must conform to all restrictions of easements, height, size, etc., as stipulated for the residential district adjoining the property in the P-1 district. In case of conflicting district restrictions on adjacent sides, the higher restricted district regulations shall prevail."
Sometimes, the public use zone has been used to reserve land for future public use. Such is the case in the provision made in the Puerto Rico zoning ordinance where the "P" district or public use zone is subject to the following regulations:
"Article 64. Use Provisions in P District. In any P District buildings or premises may be used only for the following purposes:
1. Public park
2. Public parking space
3. Public educational institution
4. Public housing project
5. Government offices
6. Public hospitals
7. Fire station
8. Police station
9. Public airport
10. Public cemetery
11. Other public uses
"In P Districts, civic, educational, religious, philanthropic or eleemosynary structures in private ownership may be erected, altered or enlarged with the approval of the Board of Appeals."
Surrounding the town of Marquette, Michigan, is a somewhat irregularly shaped area designated in the zoning ordinance as a greenbelt district. Although strictly defined, a greenbelt should not include residences, this ordinance does permit single-family detached dwellings in the area, as well as the following:
"B. Social and recreational uses: public and private recreation grounds and buildings including colleges, camps, resorts and clubs.
C. Welfare uses: penal institutions, hospitals, charitable institutions for the aged.
D. Governmental and public utility uses: power plants, sub-stations, telephone buildings, sewage disposal plants, water pumping and storage facilities, police and conservation stations.
F. Nurseries, greenhouses, general production of forest products and agricultural uses.
G. Railroad uses, not including switching, storage or freight yards.
H. Tourist cabins and camping grounds, providing that no person or party other than the owner shall occupy any cabin, trailer, camp or house car for more than six months in any one year.
I. Retail trade uses, supplying particularly the needs of tourists, and only when located on the same premises with tourist cabins, camping grounds or social and recreational uses.
J, Home occupations.
K. Accessory uses customarily incident to the permitted principal use and located on the same premises therewith."
The minimum lot size for residential uses in the greenbelt district is set at two acres.
Of a somewhat more rural nature is the semi-greenbelt district established in the El Paso County, Colorado, zoning resolution proposed in 1950. Among those uses which are permitted in the district are: watershed protection, water storage reservoirs, buildings and other structures for the commercial development of natural scenic attractions, public or private schools, churches, fish hatcheries, public and private parks, golf grounds and private clubs, nurseries, farms, ranches, hunting, fishing and playgrounds, one- and two-family dwellings, private cottages designed primarily for seasonal use and private estates, hydro-electric dams, power plants, railroad rights of way, telephone, telegraph and electric transmission and distribution lines, telephone exchanges, electric sub-stations, gas regulator stations, waterworks, filter plants and similar utilities, mines, quarries, gravel pits, clay pits ("provided their surface operations are located at a distance not less than 200 feet from any public highway, school, church, public park, or habitable dwelling, except such dwelling or dwellings as may exist on the same property and are for use and operation of such mine, quarry, gravel pit or clay pit"), race tracks, stadiums, outdoor theaters, lumber yards or other similar forest industries, and livery stables (provided that corrals are kept at a distance of not less than 200 feet from any dwelling, school, church, eating place, intermittent or running natural or artificial water courses).
Some rural greenbelt zones which exclude residences completely are the forest conservation district in the Arapahoe County, Colorado, zoning resolution and the conservancy zone in the 1951 proposed zoning ordinance for Evansville, Indiana. Within the forest conservation district in Arapahoe County (zoning ordinance amended to October 23, 1950), the grazing of live stock, fish hatcheries, recreational camps, works for watershed protection and similar uses, as well as the growing and preservation of trees, nursery stock, etc., "providing that no existing tree group shall be cut nor new land plowed for cultivation without the approval of the Board of Adjustment and advice of the County Agricultural Agent," are the permitted uses.
The proposed Evansville, Indiana, ordinance suggests a similar zone in which are to be permitted customary agricultural operations "provided no odor or dust-producing substance or use shall be permitted within two hundred (200) feet of the residential or business zone boundary," and public recreation. Furthermore, "no building or structure designed or intended for permanent use or occupancy other than fences, will be permitted."
Although most cities provide for the conversion of large single-family dwellings into smaller apartments by permitting conversions in all residence zones subject to special permission from the Zoning Board of Appeals, a few cities have attempted to establish separate conversion districts to deal with this problem.
Montclair, New Jersey, is an outstanding example of a community which has depended on this method. Excerpts from the proposed amendment to the Montclair Zoning Ordinance dealing with the conversion district were given in "Conversion of Large Single-Family Dwellings to Multiple-Family Dwellings," PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE Information Report No. 5, August 1949.Since that time, the amendment has been passed.
Still proposed is the zoning ordinance for Chicago Heights, Illinois, which also provides for a conversion district. The section dealing with conversion reads as follows:
"The following regulations shall apply in the C-R Conversion Multiple-Family Residential District:
A. Uses Permitted:
1. Any uses permitted in the 2-R Two-Family Residential District, provided that all 2-R uses shall be subject to the same limitations and controls as specifically set forth in the 2-R Two-Family Residential District, Section 3.
2. Conversion of one and two-family residences into multiple-family residences for not more than four families provided the following regulations are met:
a. No building shall be altered to exceed two and one-half stories, or 35 feet in height.
b. No building shall be converted to provide less than 2,500 square feet of lot area per dwelling unit.
c. No building shall be converted if after conversion it provides yards, lot widths and lot coverage other than in conformance with the requirements for the 2-R Two-Family Residential District.
d. No building shall be converted if after conversion to two-family use, either dwelling unit shall have less than 600 square feet of usable floor area, or if after conversion to multiple-family use, any dwelling unit so created shall have less than 400 square feet of usable floor area."
For Trailer Camps
Most communities do not establish a separate district in their zoning ordinances for trailers and trailer camps, but permit such uses as special exceptions in several zones, or confine their location to commercial or industrial districts. There are a few examples of communities which have created special districts for this use. Some reference to the treatment of trailers in zoning ordinances was made in the PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE Information Report No. 12 (March 1950) entitled, "Trailers and Trailer Camps in the Community." Special districts, however, were not treated there.
Special districts for trailers are established in the zoning ordinances for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Long Beach, California, among others. In an amendment to the zoning ordinance of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, adopted in 1942, a Trailer Camp District was created in which the following regulations apply:
"No trailer camp district shall be located within five hundred (500) feet of an existing building used for residential or commercial use, or within five hundred (500) feet of any industrial, least restricted, or park district, nor within three hundred (300) feet of any street, road, boulevard, parkway, or other highway having a width of one hundred (100) feet or more on the official city plan.
The specific use permitted in this district shall be Trailer Camps with or without the following accessory uses:
1. Living quarters for the permittee, his family and bona fide employees
3. Community building and hall
4. Toilet facilities
6. Retail store, excluding the sale of gasoline or intoxicating beverages
8. Any appurtenance specifically required for public health, safety, morals and/or general welfare by any municipal agency having jurisdiction in the matter.
9. All Motor Trailers and House Cars and all buildings shall be located at least ten (10) feet from each other and from any party line and at least twenty (20) feet from any street line.
10. No building shall be erected in such District to a height in excess of twenty-seven (27) feet."
In the zoning ordinance of Long Beach, California, as amended to 1951, the regulations governing the Trailer and House Car Camp District (T) are set forth, specifying that:
"In the trailer and house car camp district, no building or other structure shall be erected, altered or enlarged which is arranged, intended or designed for a use other than a residence, an apartment or a trailer and house car camp use, ...; nor shall any building, or other structure, or lot, be used, nor shall any building, or other structure, be erected, altered or enlarged which is arranged, intended or designed to be occupied or used for a public or semi-public use or an industrial use."
Of greatest detail are the Trailer Coach Park regulations developed in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, zoning ordinance adopted in 1951. A T or Trailer and Tourist Camp district is established by the ordinance and these uses are strictly controlled as to space, safety and health standards. The site plan of a trailer coach park must be approved by the Board of Adjustment and must meet certain requirements specified in the ordinance. Tourist Courts are also subject to similar regulations. The section dealing with Tourist Courts is reproduced here:
"a. Plan. The site plan of the tourist court must be submitted to the Building Inspector and is subject to the following minimum conditions:
1. The tourist court area shall be located on a well drained site properly graded to insure rapid drainage and freedom from stagnant pools of water.
2. Each tourist cabin shall abut or face upon a driveway of not less than twenty (20) feet in width, which shall have unobstructed access to public streets or highways. All driveways shall be hard surfaced or properly compacted gravel and well lighted.
3. Each tourist cabin shall have at least one hundred and forty (140) square feet of floor area and there shall be at least sixty (60) square feet of floor area for each person that it accommodates.
4. Every cabin shall have at least two (2) windows, located on separate walls, preferably opposite. The total window area shall be at least four (4) square feet per person, when open for ventilation, but no cabin shall have less than twelve (12) square feet of window area.
5. Any toilet room in any cabin shall have at least one window or sky light opening to the outside which has an area of not less than two (2) square feet. This window or sky light shall be so constructed that it can be opened for ventilation.
b. Sanitation facilities must comply with all lawful sanitary regulations."
For Parking Lots
One of the major uses of transitional zoning has been for the provision of parking space in residential districts abutting commercial or manufacturing zones. Many ordinances permit non-commercial parking lots in residential districts within a certain distance (usually 50 or 100 feet) of adjacent commercial or industrial zones. It is generally stipulated that no charge shall be made for parking and that the area devoted to such use shall be improved and screened according to specified standards.
A typical provision is that contained in the zoning ordinance of Valparaiso, Indiana, passed in 1951, which permits parking lots in residential districts subject to the obtaining of a special permit. Section 2 concerning permits and improvement of parking areas reads as follows:
"a. In order to meet requirements for vehicle parking space, where such space is not available on the lot occupied by a building as specified in Charts 5 to 10 inclusive, the Board of Zoning Appeals may, after receipt of a favorable report from the City Plan Commission on the proposal, and after public notice and hearing, grant a permit for the establishment of a parking lot, in a residence or suburban district, provided that the entire area of the parking lot is within three hundred (300) feet of an 'LB,' 'GB,' 'LI,' or 'HI' district, or, in the case of a church or other place of congregation in a residence district, immediately adjacent to such church or other place of congregation, and provided further that:
1. There shall be no sales, dead storage, repair work, dismantling or servicing of any kind on said parking lot.
2. Entrances and exits shall be approved as to location by the City Plan Commission.
3. No parking shall be permitted nearer than two feet from the front or side lot line.
4. Except for approved entrances and exits, a curb or rail, not more than two (2) feet in height and not less than eight (8) inches in height, shall be erected so as to conform with the required front lot line and may be required along boundaries of the parking lot as determined by the City Plan Commission for the protection of adjoining residentially zoned or used property.
5. The lot shall be surfaced with a dust-proof or hard surface meeting the standard specifications of the city.
6. No advertising signs shall be erected upon such lot, except not more than one (1) sign on each street side to indicate the operator and purpose of the lot. Such sign shall not exceed twenty (20) square feet in area and shall not extend more than ten (10) feet in overall height above the ground.
7. Lighting facilities, if provided, shall be so arranged as to be reflected away from residentially zoned or used property.
8. If at any time after the issuance of the required permits any of the provisions of this Section are not complied with the permits shall be revoked."
The Arlington County, Virginia, zoning ordinance, as amended to 1950, permits public parking areas as a transitional use in residential zones adjacent to commercial zones. The relevant section of this ordinance reads as follows:
"a. Such area shall be paved with an asphaltic or concrete surfacing; shall have appropriate bumper guards where needed, shall have vehicular entrances and exits within or as near as practicable to the commercial area, and shall be properly enclosed with an ornamental fence or wall, having a height of not less than two (2) feet and maintained at a height of not more than six (6) feet. Such fence or wall shall be maintained in good condition and observe the required front yard, and the required side yard along the street side of a corner lot for the district in which it is located, and such required front and side yard shall be landscaped with evergreen ground cover and properly maintained.
b. Where such area adjoins the side of a lot in an 'R' District or extends into a residential district as a transitional use as permitted in Section 6, a six (6) foot masonry wall shall be erected and maintained at least five (5) feet from the side of such lot and suitable landscaping shall be planted in the space between the parking lot and wall and the adjoining property or street line. Provided, however, that (a) such wall shall not extend into the front yard required on the lot on which it is located, that (b) any lights used to illuminate said parking area shall be so arranged and hooded as to confine all direct light rays entirely within the boundary lines of the parking area.
c. When such area is a Transitional Parking Area, the following, in addition to the above, shall apply: (a) no commercial enterprise of any kind shall be established on said parking area; (b) no fee shall be charged for parking thereon; and (c) no signs of any kind shall be erected, except those necessary for the orderly parking thereon.
d. Plans including all these requirements in duplicate shall be submitted and approved to the Zoning Administrator before the work is commenced."
A similar transitional use is permitted in the Long Beach, California zoning ordinance, as amended to 1951, where outdoor parking space for automobiles may be provided in the apartment house district, if the use is confined to the area within sixty feet of an adjacent business district and if such parking area complies with the following conditions:
"a. The use of any such area shall be only incidental to the operation of stores, shops or businesses conducted in the adjoining business district, or the permitted apartment house district (R-4) uses of the district in which such area is located.
b. No charge shall be made for the use of such parking area.
c. The surface of such parking area shall be improved with oil and gravel or with pavement, either surface to be not less than two (2) inches in thickness and of a type which will prevent dust and which shall be subject to the specifications to be furnished by the City Engineer - Director of Public Service.
d. The four (4) foot strip immediately adjoining other property zoned for residential use shall not be used for parking but an evergreen hedge shall be planted and maintained thereon.
e. Any and all lights which may be provided to illuminate such parking areas shall be so designed and placed to reflect the light away from the adjoining residential property."
Somewhat different is the provision made in the zoning ordinance for Niagara Falls, New York, adopted in 1951, creating a transitional zone for parking in a residential district contiguous to a commercial or manufacturing district. The pertinent excerpt from this ordinance is as follows:
"In any R district a parcel of land that lies contiguous to the boundary of a C or M district but not across any part of any street or alley therefrom and is contiguous at not more than one property line thereof to a side lot line in an R district may be used for the parking of motor vehicles, but not for any sales or servicing in connection therewith, for a distance of not exceeding 200 feet from the boundary of said C or M district, subject to the following limitations and requirements:
1. There shall be no parking of vehicles nearer to any boundary of such parcel than a distance equal to the depth or width, as the case may be, of any front or side yard in said R district that is contiguous to such boundary, or if no contiguous front or side yard exists, then the depth or width required for a contiguous front or side yard under the terms of this ordinance.
2. The portion of the parcel that is used for the parking of vehicles shall be bordered on all sides not contiguous to the boundary of said C or M district by a wall or fence, supplemented by landscaping, of such nature and height as to conceal completely all parking of vehicles from the view of any observer standing at curb level outside such parking area, and approved by the planning board as being adequate to assure that the use of said parcel for the parking of vehicles will not be detrimental to the use of adjacent land in said R district. Such wall or fence and landscaping shall be adequately maintained at all times.
3. There shall be no entrance to the parking area at a distance of more than 50 feet from the boundary of such C or M district.
4. No sign shall be displayed on such parcel except one identification sign not exceeding 12 square feet in area, and no such sign shall be located outside the portion of the parcel that is used for the parking of vehicles nor at a distance of more than 50 feet from the boundary of such C or M district."
Other examples of transitional zoning for parking lots are to be found in the ordinances of Los Angeles, California; (one of the first to incorporate such provisions), Maryland-Washington Regional District in Montgomery County, Maryland; and Miami, Florida, as well as in the proposed zoning ordinances for Detroit, Michigan; and San Francisco, California.
Transitional zoning is one way whereby parking lots in residential districts may be regulated through the zoning ordinance. Another way is by the establishment of a specific zone for parking, which may be located on the zoning map as a buffer between residential districts and commercial and industrial districts. Although the latter method has the advantage of being more direct, it may lead to an unnecessarily complicated text. Examples of the latter are not as common as those of transitional zoning.
For Other Semi-Commercial Uses
Occasionally, cities may permit other uses in addition to parking lots in the transitional zone between a residential and a commercial or industrial district. For example, two-family dwellings, doctors' offices and clinics as well as public parking areas are permitted in a single-family residence district where the lot in the R district abuts upon a lot in the business or manufacturing district, provided such transitional use does not extend more than 100 feet into the R district, according to the zoning ordinance of Antioch, California, adopted January 1950. The zoning ordinance of Long Beach, California, permits the office of a surgeon, physician, lawyer or other professional person, as well as a courtesy parking area, as a transitional use in an R-3 district, where the side of the lot adjoins a commercial or industrial district, "but in no case shall such intermediate use extend more than fifty (50) feet, not including the width of any intervening alley, from the boundary of the less restricted zone."
For Denser Residential Uses
Fort Worth, Texas, in its zoning ordinance, permits higher densities on a lot in the one or two-family residence districts where the lot is adjacent to a commercial zone. When a lot in the single-family residence district abuts upon a lot zoned for business purposes, the Board of Adjustment may permit a two-family dwelling on that lot. When a lot in the two-family residential district abuts one zoned for business uses, the board may permit a four-family dwelling.
Hybrid Districts — Mixed Uses
Zones which permit a combination of uses usually segregated according to trilogy of residential, commercial and industrial are also being established by many communities. Caution should always be exercised when devising these zones so that the residential nature of the neighborhood is not destroyed, if commercial or industrial uses are to be combined with residential, or that the demands and characteristics of either commerce or industry will not interfere with each other where these two uses are mixed. Some examples of districts where a harmony of use has been achieved are given here.
Office and Professional Districts
The realization that office buildings are not necessarily objectionable in themselves, and, when properly controlled, may be combined with certain residential uses without detriment to the residences, has led to a new treatment of this use in some zoning ordinances. In general, the combination of office buildings and residential buildings may be permitted in (a) in-lying residential areas where conversions of large, single-family dwellings to apartments are taking place, and (b) the outlying suburban fringe to which these offices are dispersing. In general, there are two ways in which this combination of office and residential use may be established in the zoning ordinance. The first is to permit restricted office uses in one or two of the residential districts — usually the apartment house residence district. The second way is to establish an office and professional district, in which certain forms of residential uses are permitted in addition to specified commercial uses. Although the final result may be similar, the definition of the district often implies a changing attitude toward uses.
An example of the first alternative is found in the zoning ordinance for the County of Henrico, Virginia, adopted July 11, 1945. In the Residence 4 district, in addition to two-family dwellings and semi-detached dwellings, the following office and institutional uses are permitted:
"Hospitals and sanitariums, not treating contagious diseases, and not for the care of epileptic or drug or liquor patients, charitable institutions which are not of a correctional nature, and which are not intended for the care of insane or feeble-minded persons; provided that any building so used shall be set back not less than one hundred (100) feet from any lot line or street line.
Apartment houses: provided a permit is granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Before any such permit shall be granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals, written application shall be made to said board, and there shall be filed with said application tentative plans of the proposed building, plan of lot showing location of buildings thereon, and any additional information which the board may request...
Office buildings: provided a permit is granted by the Board of Zoning Appeals. Before any permit shall be granted by the Board of Appeals, written application shall be made to said board, and there shall be filed with said application, tentative plans of the proposed building, plan of lot showing location of building thereon, and any additional information which the Board of Zoning Appeals may request. The Board of Zoning Appeals may, after making a thorough examination as to location, use, type of building, layout of grounds, building plans and general effect on surrounding property, either grant, modify, or refuse to issue the permit; and there shall be no appeal from the action of the board in granting, modifying, or refusing such permit. No such permit shall be issued except upon the following requirements: that such building shall be used only for offices for business administration, or offices of members of a recognized profession such as doctors, dentists or lawyers; said building may have a restaurant, cafeteria or refreshment stand operating within the building for use of the regular occupants of the building only. Any such office building not over 40 feet in height shall set back at least 75 feet from the front street line, and 50 feet from all other boundary lines of the property on which it is constructed; provided further that the front setback is as great as the average of the next two adjacent houses already built on the same side of the street and within 500 feet of the proposed building.
Any office building constructed over 40 feet in height or covering more than 10,000 square feet of ground area shall be set-back from all street property lines at least 100 feet. Ample parking space shall be provided on the premises, and in the rear of the front building line for vehicles of all occupants of the building and for persons calling at the building to transact business."
Other zoning ordinances permit specified institutional uses such as hospitals, schools, eleemosynary institutions, and public buildings in even the most restricted residential zones. For example, the zoning regulations (adopted 1950) of Farmington, Connecticut, permit "hospitals, nursing homes, and charitable and philanthropic institutions, except correctional institutions and asylums for the insane in the residence district. All buildings for these uses must be located at least 100 feet from any lot line bounding the lot." Also of interest is the provision made for certain institutional uses in the Maryland-Washington Regional District in Montgomery County, Maryland, zoning ordinance.
"(4) 1. Permit a lot, parcel or tract of land in any residential zone to be used for hospital, sanitarium, nursing home, care home or medical clinic building upon a finding by the Board that said use will not constitute a nuisance because of traffic, noise, or number of patients or persons being cared for; that said use will not affect adversely the present character or future development of the surrounding residential community, and if the lot, parcel or tract of land on which the building or buildings to be used by said institution are' located conform to the following minimum area:
Frontage and setback requirements:
A. Hospital or sanitarium:
Total Area — 5 acres
Frontage — 200 feet
Setback — 50 feet from all property lines
B. Care Home or Nursing Home where not more than five persons are cared for:
Total Area — 7,500 square feet
Frontage — 50 feet
Setback — Same as in 'Area Regulations,' for the residential zone in which the Care Home or Nursing Home is proposed to be located.
C. Care Home or Nursing Home where more than five, but not more than ten persons are cared for:
Total Area — 15,000 square feet
Frontage — 75 feet
Setback — Same as for 'Area Regulations' for the residential zone in which the Care Home or Nursing Home has proposed to be located.
D. Care Home or Nursing Home where 11 or more persons are cared for:
Total Area — 20, 000 square feet
Frontage — 150 feet
Setback — 25 feet from all property lines
E. Medical Clinic Building:
Total Area — 40, 000 square feet
Frontage — 200 feet
Setback — 40 feet from all property lines
2. The Board is hereby empowered and authorized to waive one or more of the area, frontage or setback requirements referred to herein above, and to issue a special exception for the use of any lot or tract of land by any of the above-mentioned types of institutions upon finding that the institution has for at least one year prior to April 1, 1950, continuously occupied the same premises, that it will not constitute a nuisance because of traffic, noise or number of patients or persons being cared for and that it will not tend to adversely affect the present character or future development of the surrounding residential community."
The Colorado Springs, Colorado, zoning ordinance adopted 1951, permits in an R-5 residential zone or most dense residence district in addition to residential uses and customary home occupations, beauty operations performed by the person occupying the building as his or her private dwelling, coffee shops, public dining rooms, barber shops, etc., if located in hotels for the convenience of the guests, and, in addition, permits as additional uses subject to conditions specified, education and welfare institutions, libraries, museums and art galleries not operated for profit, doctors' offices, other professional offices, hospitals and clinics with the exception of animal hospitals or animal clinics, and business uses, provided the following conditions are met:
"A. The business does not involve the sale of merchandise or commodities upon the premises.
B. The business does not make any smoke, noise, odor or constitute a similar nuisance.
C. Front, back and side yard requirements of this zone are complied with by the Proposed structure.
D. All the other stipulations that are required for conditional uses."
In a later section of the ordinance, the zoning board of adjustment is charged with the granting of conditional use permits if the use or value of the area adjacent to the property included in the conditional use will not be adversely affected, if the conditional use is consistent with the intent and purpose of the ordinance, and if the proposed conditional use is not contrary to the development plan of Colorado Springs.
The proposed ordinance for San Francisco, California, third draft dated 1949, deals in similar fashion with combined commercial and residential uses. In the R-1-D, the most restricted district, the permitted uses are single-family dwellings, truck gardening, public buildings ("provided...that no use customarily conducted as a gainful business such as garbage incinerator, garage, machine shop, storage yard, or the like..." are included), existing cemeteries, etc. In addition, churches, parochial and other private elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, nursery schools and child-care centers, private non-commercial recreational uses, hospitals, sanitariums, foster homes for children, homes for the aged, and other similar institutions, utility and public service uses ...etc., are permitted as conditional uses. Accessory uses, such as the offices of resident physicians, dentists, architects, engineers, attorneys, or other professional persons are permitted when located within the dwelling unit and when occupying not more than one-fourth of the dwelling unit area. The R-1 district has provision for transitional uses, which are permitted within fifty feet (in the case of a lot abutting a Commercial or Manufacturing district) or 100 feet (from the street lot line in the case of a lot facing a Commercial or Manufacturing district) of a C or M district. These transitional uses include principal offices of physicians, dentists, or other professional persons, and private clubs, lodges, and social and recreational buildings, except those the chief activity of which is one customarily carried on as a gainful business,
"...provided that there shall be no external evidence of any gainful activity, however incidental, nor any access thereto other than from within the building; provided further that there shall be no opening, other than exits required by law, in any part of the building used for assembly, entertainment, dancing, active recreation, restaurants, or the like within twenty (20) feet of any other lot in any R district.''
The RA district permits all the foregoing, and, in addition, establishes as a conditional use when authorized by the Planning Commission:
"(a) Offices for organizations used primarily for accounting, correspondence, or research, except that which involves equipment, processes or materials prohibited or first listed as a permitted use in any C district; provided that the occupancy does not regularly involve contact, in person, with clients, members, or customers; and, provided, that no merchandise is handled or merchandising services are rendered on the premises; provided, further that there is no display of merchandise, or any display of advertising except as permitted as an accessory use by the provisions of this section."
An early attempt to establish a specifically designated professional or office district which combined residential uses with modified commercial uses is found in the zoning ordinance of Elizabeth City County, Virginia, adopted March 1944. Section 6A dealing with Zone P-1 or the Professional use district reads as follows:
"Within any zone P-1, no building or premises shall be used and no building shall be hereafter erected or structurally altered, unless otherwise provided in this ordinance except for one or more of the following uses:
1. Any use hereinbefore permitted in Zone R-1.
2. A building formerly used as a residence may be interiorly altered for occupancy by doctors, dentists, surgeons, musicians, artists, funeral homes, or four-family apartment building.
3. A new building to house the above uses may be erected when the exterior appearance conforms to a residential design not conflicting with adjoining buildings so as to cause a devaluation of said existing buildings.
4. All new structures to conform to all other requirements of this zoning ordinance for a residential property.
5. Off-street parking space shall be provided on the property for ten or more vehicles."
The newly proposed zoning ordinance for Greensboro, North Carolina (1951) goes furthest in the direction of a genuine hybrid district. In this ordinance, a commercial A district is established which is designed primarily for "office, institutional and commercial activities, having only limited contact with the general public, not involving the sale of merchandise at retail except incidentally, and which may be carried on with no offensive noise, smoke, odors, fumes, or other objectionable conditions in structures surrounded with ample open space for yards and for the off-street parking and loading of vehicles." Among the uses permitted in this district are listed assembly halls owned by non-profit organizations; business colleges, trade schools, music conservatories, and similar organizations offering vocational training in specific fields; gymnasiums or physical culture establishments; governmental office buildings, post offices, court house, and other administrative functions; hospitals and sanitariums not treating contagious diseases and not for the care of epileptics or drug or liquor patients; charitable institutions which are not of a correctional nature and which are not intended for the care of insane or feeble-minded patients — all provided that the building or buildings be located not less than fifty feet from any lot line or property boundary; hospitals for contagious diseases, sanitariums or hospitals treating epileptics, drug or liquor patients and asylums for the mentally diseased — all provided that no building so used shall be within 200 feet of any lot line or property boundary; hotels, inns, and apartment hotels, but not tourist courts; laboratories for research and testing; libraries, museums and art galleries; office buildings in which no activity is carried on catering to retail trade with the general public, and no stock of goods is maintained for sale to customers; professional offices offering recognized professional services such as the following: dentists, doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.; public and private schools and colleges with students in residence; radio and television stations and masts; undertaking establishments, embalming, funeral homes, crematoria, etc.; and such residential uses as enumerated. In the Commercial A district, a minimum required lot size is established of 10,000 square feet, with a minimum required open yard space of 2,000 square feet per dwelling unit. Lots must be 80 feet in width, and the yard next to any street must be 30 feet in depth. Every building must be set back at least 60 feet from the center line of all streets, and the total floor area of all the buildings on a lot shall not exceed the total yard space on the lot. Provision must be made for adequate off-street parking and loading according to standards established elsewhere in the ordinance.
Limited Industrial District
Going even farther into the problem of combined uses is the proposed zoning ordinance for Chicago Heights, Illinois, prepared in 1950. In this ordinance, a limited industrial district is established in which land and buildings may be used for any use permitted in an R-2 residential district and for certain "light" business and industrial uses, including artificial flower manufacturing, art needle work, book binding, cabinet making, candy and cigar manufacturing, clothing and dress manufacture, fabric finishing for such items as draperies, bedspreads, laboratories, machine shops employing not more than 25 persons in the manufacturing process, offices and office record storage, pattern and model making, printing plants and watch assembly plants. The character of the industry is controlled by the following provisions:
"The above uses will be permitted provided any such use is carried on in a building not exceeding one story or 20 feet in height; providing no motor is employed in the manufacturing process in excess of 5 horse power, with a total horse power not exceeding 30; provided any heating is done with electricity, gas or fuel oil; provided not more than 100 gallons of inflammable liquids or explosives (other than fuel oil) are stored upon the premises; provided there are no fumes, odors or noises which leave the building; provided there is a landscaped yard on every side of the building, at least 50 feet in width and provided that not more than 100 persons are employed in the manufacturing process.
The intent of this section is to permit certain industries which do not in any way detract from residential desirability, to locate in an area containing certain residential uses. The limitations on height, horse power or heating, inflammable liquids or explosives and the provisions requiring controls on the emission of fumes, odors and noises and the provisions in regard to landscaping, and the provisions limiting the number of persons employed, are imposed to protect and foster residential desirability while permitting certain industries to locate close to a labor supply."
Planned Development Districts
Just as the growth of large-scale development of homes has led to the need for a revised approach to residential zoning in the form of zoning for group housing, the large-scale building of shopping centers and industrial districts is requiring similar revisions in commercial and industrial zoning. To cite one basic difference between the characteristics of new planned shopping centers and older ribbon developments or "four-corner" commercial areas which requires a change in zoning — whereas the latter required a commercial zone of linear form, the former requires a commercial district shaped more like a triangle or a square. Other differences requiring different treatment in the zoning ordinance are: concentrated parking areas with their driveways and interior circulation; development by one builder at one time, making possible architectural control; greater setback from the street and the pedestrian mall.
Recognizing this need for a new type of commercial zoning provision, the zoning ordinance of Valparaiso, Indiana, passed in 1951, contains a section regulating shopping centers. Section 2 concerning the Community Shopping Center Development Plan reads as follows:
"a. The owner or owners of any tract of land, comprising an area of not less than four (4) acres, may submit in similar manner, a Development Plan for a Community Shopping Center, which shall be processed in the manner prescribed in Section 1, a., herein, and may be approved if the report of the City Plan Commission shows that:
The commercial uses included in the plan are limited to those permitted in the 'LB' District;
The entire development is designed as a single architectural unit, with appropriate landscape architectural treatment of the entire unit area;
That at least twice the gross floor area of the stores to be included within the development, plus one vehicle parking space of two hundred fifty (250) square feet for each six (6) seats in any theater or place of congregation included within the plan is provided in off-street parking areas, which are integral parts of the design of the unit plan.
That the appropriate use of property adjacent to the area included in the plan will be fully safe-guarded;
That the plan is consistent with the intent of this ordinance to promote the public health, safety and general welfare.
b. If the Board of Zoning Appeals approves the proposed Development Plan for a Community Shopping Center, building permits and use and occupancy permits shall be issued as prescribed in Section 1,b., herein."
Another community which is attempting to meet the new problem of a planned shopping center is Mt. Lebanon Township, Pennsylvania, which has recently proposed an amendment to its zoning ordinance (in June, 1951) to create a Neighborhood Shopping District. Among the uses to be permitted in this zone are shops for the sale of books, confections, bakery, foodstuffs, dairy products, dry goods, notions, novelties, periodicals, household articles and tobacco; service establishments such as barber shops, beauty parlors, business and professional offices, banks and savings and loan associations, laundry and cleaning agencies, shoe repair shops; and recreational uses, such as bowling alleys and theaters. The proposed regulations for this district specify that:
"...In this District, the land, buildings and structures shall be used, and the buildings and structures erected, altered, enlarged and maintained only for the uses listed in Section 1 provided that:
1. There is a diversity and variety of business to adequately serve the everyday family and personal needs of the District.
2. Each enterprise be conducted wholly within an enclosed building.
3. Required yards be not used for display, sale or storage of merchandise, or for the storage of vehicles, equipment containers or waste material.
4. All merchandise be first-hand and be sold at retail on the premises.
5. There be no manufacturing or processing except that which is incidental and essential to an enterprise in which all merchandise is sold at retail on the premises.
6. Such enterprise be not objectionable because of odor, excessive light, smoke, dust, noise, vibration, presence of vermin or rodents, or similar nuisance.
7. Off-street Parking be provided as prescribed in Article XII, Section 5.
8. Required Off-street Loading be provided as prescribed in Article XII, Section 6.
9. The location, site plan and general character of the development be approved by the Board of Township Commissioners."
Some pioneering work in this field has been done by Hugh Pomeroy, Director of the Westchester County Department of Planning in White Plains, New York. In an ordinance prepared for Niagara Falls, New York, and adopted in March 1951, a C-D District or planned shopping center district is established, The section relating to this district is given below:
"The regulations for C-D districts are intended to assure the grouping of buildings on a parcel of land in such manner as to constitute a harmonious, efficient, and convenient retail shopping center, and to provide a means for permitting the establishment of such centers as a part of the development of parts of the city that at the time of the adoption of this ordinance consist of open acreage, such districts to be established from time to time by amendments of this ordinance consisting of appropriate changes in the boundaries of districts established by this ordinance in such a manner as best to fit the general pattern of land use established by this ordinance, in relation to residential development as it may occur in the aforesaid open acreage areas and to further the purposes set forth in Section 1 of this ordinance. In any C-D district the location of main and accessory buildings on the site and in relation to one another, the traffic circulation features within the site, the height and bulk of buildings, the provision of off-street parking space and loading space, the provision of other open spaces on the site, the designation of certain uses as specified for C-D districts in 1(b) under 'Uses' in the above schedule, and the display of signs shall be in accordance with a site plan or plans or subsequent amendments thereof, approved in any case by the planning board in accordance with the same procedure as that specified by law for approving subdivision plats. In approving site plans the planning board may act on site plans submitted to it or may act on its own initiative in proposing and approving a site plan. A site plan may include landscaping, fences and walls designed to further the purposes of the regulations for C-D districts, and such features shall be provided and maintained as a condition of the establishment and maintenance of any use to which they are appurtenant. In considering any site plan for a C-D district, the planning board shall assure safety and convenience of traffic movement, both within the shopping center covered by the plan and in relation to access streets, harmonious and beneficial relations between the center and contiguous land and adjacent neighborhoods."
Similar provisions are to be found in the proposed zoning ordinances for both Stamford, Connecticut, and Cortlandt, New York. The latter ordinance combines the provisions for a planned shopping center with those for a planned industrial district. The governing section reads as follows:
"The regulations for M-D districts are intended to permit and encourage commercial and industrial development that will be so located and designed as to constitute a harmonious and appropriate part of the physical development of the town, contribute to the soundness of the economic base of the town, and otherwise further the purposes set forth in Section 1, such districts to be established from time to time by amendments of this ordinance consisting of appropriate changes in the boundaries of districts.
In any C-D or M-D district the location of main and accessory buildings on the site and in relation to one another, the traffic circulation features within the site, the height and bulk of buildings, the provision of off-street parking space,, the provision of other open space on the site, and the display of signs shall, in addition to conforming to any and all regulations pertaining thereto that are specifically set forth in this ordinance, be in accordance with a site plan or plans or subsequent amendment thereof, approved in any case by the planning board in accordance with the same procedure as that specified by law for approving subdivision plats.
In approving site plans the planning board may act on site plans submitted to it or may act on its own initiative in proposing and approving a site plan. A site plan may include landscaping, fences and walls designed to further the purposes of the regulations for the C-D and M-D districts respectively, and such features shall be provided and maintained as a condition of the establishment and maintenance of any use to which they are appurtenant.
In considering any site plan hereunder the planning board shall endeavor to assure safety and convenience of traffic movement both within the area covered and in relation to access streets, harmonious and beneficial relation among the buildings and uses in the area covered, and satisfactory and harmonious relation between such area and contiguous land and buildings and adjacent neighborhoods."
The examples selected for this PLANNING ADVISORY SERVICE report are but a few of the many in our files. These files are kept as complete and current as possible, but, to be of greatest assistance to you, we need your cooperation. If any unusual zoning districts are being considered as amendments to your zoning ordinance, we hope you will send us a copy of the proposal.